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RVSM Aircraft Certification & Approval
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Aircraft System Performance Requirements
Aircraft, operators and flight crew all have to be certified to operate in RVSM airspace. Aircraft system performance requirements are defined in JAA TGL No. 6 and FAA AC 91-85. State airworthiness authorities are responsible for verifying that an aircraft is technically capable of meeting and maintaining the stringent altimetry system performance requirements. Crews must be trained in appropriate procedures in RVSM airspace. Providing all these requirements are met, an authority will issue an RVSM Operational Approval. Operators indicate RVSM approval by filing a W in field 10 of the ICAO model flight plan. It is a violation of ICAO European regional supplementary procedures for a non-approved aircraft to file a W. The RMA is responsible for verifying the approval status of aircraft operating in RVSM airspace and reporting violations to the appropriate state authority.
An important element of the certification process is the confirmation of the aircraft height keeping performance across the entire operational flight envelope. The flight envelope covers all combinations of speed, altitude and weight/atmospheric pressure ratio that the aircraft would expect to operate across in RVSM airspace. The assessment of the aircraft performance across the flight envelope, together with the service bulletin, continuing airworthiness instructions and the amendment to the aircraft flight manual are collectively known as the RVSM approval data package. Confirmation of the RVSM approval data package is a fundamental requirement before any RVSM operational approval is issued.